Does Nutrition Have Therapeutic Possibilities for Fibromyalgia Patients?
Fibromyalgia is a common chronic pain condition that is estimated to affect 6% of the world's population. Ten million people in the U.S alone have fibromyalgia, and of those 10 million, most are women.
The World Health Organization wrote down fibromyalgia as a clinical entity in the International Classification of Diseases over two decades ago, but despite this recognition and increased awareness, diagnosis and effective treatments remain challenging. However, researchers have found that nutrition could be a promising tool to help reduce fibromyalgia symptoms.
What can nutrition really offer fibromyalgia patients? Well, there are a few theories. Some theorize that deficiencies or imbalances in essential vitamins and minerals result in a dysfunctional pain inhibitory mechanism, while others theorize that certain symptoms of fibromyalgia, like chronic fatigue, can be reduced with supplements like specific amino acids, selenium, magnesium, and vitamins B and D.
Recent research has attempted to find a key understanding of the connection between fibromyalgia and nutrition.
Is there a relationship between muscle pain and the metabolic state? Does the role of vitamins, ingested metals, and antioxidants help or hurt fibromyalgia? These are just some of the questions that researchers want answered and are currently exploring.
A diet that is rich in antioxidants that also increases nitric oxide, vitamins B12/folic acid and creatine levels have been found to improve some fibromyalgia symptoms. There are specific deficiencies in vitamins and minerals that fibromyalgia patients have in common, and sometimes, increasing those levels of important nutrients may play a role in reducing symptoms.
On the flip side, foods that are rich in histamine and heavy metals, including mercury, cadmium, and lead, can cause the symptoms of fibromyalgia to worsen. This also means that a diet rich in protein and vegetables can reduce muscle pain because of their high concentrations of amino acids, which provide energy for muscle function.
Be careful, not all amino acids are helpful for fibromyalgia. Research has found that increased levels of homocysteine in the cerebrospinal fluid are connected to musculoskeletal pain. One study found that those with irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia who ate a diet rich in glutamate had more uncomfortable fibromyalgia symptoms than those who were not asked to take the glutamate challenge. The results suggest that glutamate actually does cause fibromyalgia symptoms in some patients.
Want to know more about this important relationship between nutrition and fibromyalgia? Read on to find out.